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Old 08-10-2012, 11:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 2003 Pilot Flashing D light

Was driving home the other night and started to get the dreaded flashing D light. Put the car in park and the D light was still flashing.....Turned the car off waited a while came back out started the car again and no flashing D light....Its been two days, car is shifting fine and no more flashing D. Taking it to the dealer today to see if they can pull any codes. Any suggestions from anyone? Could it be just a sensor issue? Get out of the car while I can? Thanks!
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Old 08-10-2012, 01:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Was driving home the other night and started to get the dreaded flashing D light. Put the car in park and the D light was still flashing.....Turned the car off waited a while came back out started the car again and no flashing D light....Its been two days, car is shifting fine and no more flashing D. Taking it to the dealer today to see if they can pull any codes. Any suggestions from anyone? Could it be just a sensor issue? Get out of the car while I can? Thanks!
Probably 3rd or 4th gear pressure switch. The flashiing D resets itself when you shut the vehicle off. A code will have been stored though. Our first flashing D indicator tripped once and then it didn't trip again until 3 months later where it would trip once a day. It was the 3rg gear switch.
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I sure do hope its just a sensor. Any idea how much that runs? I was talking to my service rep who I have been loyal to for 8 years. He told me that with the miles on the car that a trans failure is unacceptable and that if it did need replacing that the dealership would go to bat for me and get a great split of cost with honda if not covered completely.
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I had the dealer change out the pressure switch because I didn't have time myself. It was somewhere between $100-$200 dollars, can't remember the exact amount. It just tripped the indicator (flashing D) and there were no signs of shifting issues. Since this is a very common issue, it is likely only that.

Here's a DIY thread: DIY Pressure Switches
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Old 08-10-2012, 04:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I dodged a major bullet today.....Turns out its the 4th gear pressure sensor. $186....Its a red flag IMO....Pilot will be going on craigslist tonight 12K OBO....Time for an upgrade!
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It's not a red flag that your tranny is going to the crapper because the 4th gear pressure switch needed replacing. In the thread that was posted by "jl_ss" with the DIY, people have fixed the flashing D and found that their tranny is running better also.
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I dodged a major bullet today.....Turns out its the 4th gear pressure sensor. $186....Its a red flag IMO....Pilot will be going on craigslist tonight 12K OBO....Time for an upgrade!
Replacing 3rd and 4th gear pressure switches in a 2003 is not uncommon and not an indication of future catastrophic transmission failure. Your post alludes to the fact that you may have low mileage. There are a number of transmissions (including our own) that have over 150K miles, have had the switches replaced, and are still going strong.
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yes my pilot has low milage for it's age just over 100K....Lightly driven by the wife. Just don't have confidence in Honda automatic transmissions. I have owned nothing but Honda for the past 15 years and have had a couple of bad experiences from an 88 Prelude to a 01 Civic.....Maybe my assumptions are a bit premature.
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Old 08-11-2012, 04:42 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Nothing premature in your thinking at all. Pre 'O5 there are significant tranny issues that are addressed with an added tranny cooler and external filter. You should have that at minimal expense. They will extend the life of your tranny in a big way. It seems like your vehicle is just a run around town vehicle for your wife so that may have helped keep the tranny heat (the killer) down. The pressure switches are a common fail and seem that they should be just switched out with age. Best of luck ... Personally my wife loves her pilot and I will repair it for as long as she wants to drive it. Good general reliability and minimal risk of leaving you stranded....
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Old 08-11-2012, 08:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Nothing premature in your thinking at all. Pre 'O5 there are significant tranny issues that are addressed with an added tranny cooler and external filter. You should have that at minimal expense. They will extend the life of your tranny in a big way. It seems like your vehicle is just a run around town vehicle for your wife so that may have helped keep the tranny heat (the killer) down. The pressure switches are a common fail and seem that they should be just switched out with age. Best of luck ... Personally my wife loves her pilot and I will repair it for as long as she wants to drive it. Good general reliability and minimal risk of leaving you stranded....
Actually, the CR owner reported reliability survey results for major transmission problem rates with the Pilot, shows the the 03 has a "slightly worse than average" rate and the 04 has a "better than average" problem rate. Not quite what I would call significant problem rates.

The 03/04 does get the oil jet kit installed, but that was shown not to have any reduction at all on 01/02 MDX transmission failures. 03-05 Pilot and 01-02 MDX use the same transmission. It is a misconception that the Pilot suffers from the high transmission failure rates of the 3-shaft design that the other V6 Honda/Acura models suffered.
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Old 08-12-2012, 01:10 PM   #11 (permalink)
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High when compared to the other common failures (none)
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